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I’ll make this short and sweet.
Tom & Jerry is a bad movie.
A very bad movie.
Colour me not surprised that the director of Taxi, the 2000s Fantastic Four movies, the Think Like a Man movies, the Ride Along movies, and 2019’s God-awful Shaft movie made a new terrible movie to add to his ever-expanding list of mediocre garbage.
Tim Story is essentially the answer to when directors like Steve McQueen hope that we can get “crappy Black films” and no one can care about them, that being a sign that “…we’re in a good place”. Story is the kind of mediocre and bland director who can put out absolute muck that no-one really cares about, or at least no-one should. But I do care when it’s with Tom & Jerry.
These are two of the oldest and most enduring pop culture characters in history, just behind the Looney Tunes characters. They’ve had dozens of revivals, a hundred-or-so direct-to-DVD animated movies, and even had a theatrical film in 1992 where they both spoke. Needless to say, no one remembers that one.
I understand why Warner Bros. would want a new Tom & Jerry movie. For the simplest reason: money. It’s an established name they can make new content out of and promote to the broadest audience possible and make more than enough to continue on some half-baked franchise which will most likely cave in on itself by the time a sequel comes out.
If you think I’m wrong, look at The Smurfs. In more ways than I’d like to admit, this new Tom and Jerry movie feels like the terrible Smurfs movies from the early 2010s; live-action and animation hybrids set in New York with a few notable celebrity voices and starring a great mix of talented actors roped into talking to nothing at all for ninety minutes, trying desperately to elevate everything to no avail. Who Framed Roger Rabbit is the only movie where this kind of live-action/animation hybrid thing worked and everyone has tried to match it and they’ve all failed. Can we please stop doing this?
Can we please stop taking these established characters of fifty plus years and regurgitating them to meet painful modern standards? I wasn’t all that surprised at what Tom & Jerry turned out to be because Warner Bros. took this same approach last year with Scoob! by forcing these characters made of and for a specific time into something they just aren’t.
People never loved Tom & Jerry because of their interactions with humans. That was a choice that ended up driving the show into its weakest periods in the 1950s. So why make the choice to have a cast of Chloe Grace-Moretz, Michael Peña, Colin Jost, Pallavi Sharda, Rob Delaney, and Ken Jeong all be dragged into talking and interacting with nothing and driving most of the comedy on-screen when all that people actually care about is seeing Tom and Jerry get into wacky, action-packed, and cartoonishly violent hijinks.
I’m not going to bother explaining the plot because it doesn’t matter. None of this matters. Do I think that Tom and Jerry should have been a theatrical film in the first place? Ultimately, no. Scooby-Doo kind of makes sense as most of the characters are people doing real-world things with an anthropomorphic dog. Looney Tunes almost makes sense because the characters can speak and all interact with one another. But Tom & Jerry do not talk, their stories are barely fiveminutes long per episode, and their only interaction with a person is the only-seen-from-the-knees down housemaid who is nowhere near politically correct today. So what kind of story can you get from that? None.
So Warner Bros., in a desperate attempt to milk an IP for some kind of quick cash, force these characters into disgusting over-produced situations that do not honour their legacy nor do they even remotely entertain the audience. Tom & Jerry is brutally unfunny, wastes a wealth of good acting talent on a demeaning script, and can only hold up it’s slick animation as anything close to a positive attribute. I hated this movie. Tom & Jerry is definitely one of the worst movies of 2021 and an awful waste of anyone’s time.
Director: Tim Story
Cast: Chloë Grace Moretz, Michael Peña, Colin Jost
Writer: Kevin Costello, (based on the characters Tom and Jerryby William Hanna and Joseph Barbera)
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